SEPTEMBER 10, 2001
Piero Lardi Ferrari's ambitions
ALL of us have dreams of course, but one suspects that Piero Lardi Ferrari's ambition to restore the ownership of the Fiat-owned brand and its all-important race team to the Ferrari family looks a touch optimistic.
Piero Lardi Ferrari, Enzo's son, recently did an interview for the society magazine Hello! in which he declared his wish to see the family, which retains a 10% stake in Ferrari, regain control of Maranello. "We all have a dream. One day we will get Ferrari back," he said.
Scuderia Ferrari was formed on 1 December 1929 by ambitious ex-racer Enzo Ferrari to run as a semi-works Alfa Romeo Grand Prix team for wealthy drivers. Evidence of Ferrari's showmanship came with his cars carrying the prancing horse emblem of Italy's most famous fighter ace of World War 1, Francesco Barracca.
Alfa dropped out of competition after the Great Depression, leaving Ferrari to run its cars but the glory days ended in 1934 with the arrival of the German supercars of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union, and in 1938 Italian dictator Benito Mussolini ordered that Alfa go racing again, with Scuderia Ferrari swallowed up by Alfa Corse.
After World War 2 Ferrari was keen to gain his independence and set about building V12 cars to beat the Alfettas in Grand Prix racing. He managed this at the 1951 British Grand Prix. "I wept with joy," Ferrari said later. "But my tears of happiness were blended with tears of sadness, for I thought that day 'I have killed my mother'."
The racing successes began and the road car production - a means of funding the Scuderia - took off to form the legendary marque that Ferrari sold to Fiat in the mid-1960s after first attempting to sell out to Ford. The Old Man retained control until his death in 1988 however, and only after the return of 1970s F1 team boss Luca Montezemolo did Ferrari begin to recover from its loss.
"My father had style and charisma and a sense of tradition," Piero Lardi Ferrari said, although whether he will ever see his dream of taking back the Ferrari marque is extremely debatable. "He was always the star of the show. Actually he inherited that character from my grandmother, Aldalgisa. Maybe she was the only person who was more stubborn than my dad."